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Winner of the 2010 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Nonfiction and the 2011 Nita B Kibble Award.

When Miles Franklin-shortlisted novelist Brenda walker became sick she turned to two healers: doctors and books.

This is the story of how she recovered.

Packing her bag for hospital after being diagnosed with breast cancer, Brenda wondered which book to put in. As a novelist and professor of literature, her life was built around reading and writing. Books had always been her solace and sustenance, and now choosing the right one was the most important thing she could do for herself.

In Reading by Moonlight, Brenda describes the five stages of her treatment and how different authors helped her through an arduous recovery. Along with insightful introductions to the work of writers like Dante, Tolstoy, Nabokov, Beckett and Dickens, Brenda show how the very process of reading – surrendering and then regathering yourself – echoes the process of healing.

Reading by Moonlight guides, reassures, throws light on dark places, and finds beauty in the most fearful of illnesses. It affirms that reading can be essential to life itself.

'A work of rare richness and unending generosity of spirit – a beautiful meditation on the gift of reading death and the spirit of survival.' Alex Miller, the Age

'Brenda Walker's account of the healing power of books is a gift . . . beautifully written, heartfelt.' Susie Burge, Harper's Bazzar

'Irresistible . . . A many-layered reading experience.' West Australian

'Instructive, uplifting and palliative. And what more can one look to a book for?' James Grieve, Canberra Times

Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780143205227

    March 28, 2011

    Penguin

    240 pages

    RRP $24.95

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781742530468

    March 29, 2010

    Penguin eBooks

    244 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
    • iBooks
    • Google Play EBook AU
    • Kobo Ebook
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks

Awards and Recognition

  • Victorian Premier's Literary Award
    2010
    Winner
    Nettie Palmer Prize for Non-fiction
  • Qld Premier's Literary Award
    2010
    Shortlisted
    Non-Fiction
  • W.A. Premier's Book Award
    2010
    Shortlisted
    Non-Fiction
  • Nita Kibble Award for Women Writers
    2011
    Winner
    Kibble Literary Award
  • APA Book Design Awards
    2011
    Shortlisted
    Best Designed Non-Fiction Book
  • NSW Premier's Literary Awards
    2011
    Shortlisted
    Douglas Stewart Prize
  • Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature
    2012
    Shortlisted
    Non-Fiction

Also by Brenda Walker